Releasing ducks-the trials and tribulations

This week, Hubs and I released twelve ducks. They came to the rescue as tiny ducklings, in two’s and three’s. Once they were given a clean bill of health, we put them into a water aviary together.

Before a release can begin, ducks have to be caught. We have tried and tested many different methods over the years and have concluded that the most efficient way to round them up is for one member of staff to herd them with a large brush, to the back of the shed, while another member of staff catches them as they make a break for it, at the front.

I was at the front. Everyone who catches ducks knows, that as soon as you grab one, they poop on you, and of course they all performed that little task beautifully leaving me covered in duck poop! Some managed multiple bowel movements!

Hubs was extremely reluctant to let me into the car!

To add insult to injury, a small crowd always gathers to witness the duck catching, and let me tell you that it rarely goes smoothly, many dodge capture and the entire operation is a frantic, frenzied pantomime, despite our best efforts. We always end up with tangled arms and legs and seem to specialize in running into each other or slipping in duck poop. Ducks, by nature, are always so vocal, oh, the commotion, oh the pandemonium….it’s all such a kerfuffle, always ending with one or two, impossible-to-catch-ducks, smirking at us from the safety of the water. I always wish I had six arms and lightening reflexes!

Once caught, quacky, irate ducks are quickly driven to a canal and part two of the debacle begins.

Now the aim is to get them all into the water at the same time, ensuring that the group stays together, as there is safety in numbers for newbie ducks in strange territory.

This exercise is a little like duck catching, only in reverse. All the cage doors are opened at the same time and I’m always hopeful that the ducks will jump out….together. They don’t!

One or two will go, the rest grip the floor of their crates with a tenacity that is astounding, they hang on in there for grim death. I have even resorted to tipping the crates, as time is of the essence and yet, the ducks still remain in there.

The only way to get them out is to grab them, at the speed of light and drop them one by one into the water. Again, a crowd always gathers to watch as duck after duck poops on me.

I often enroll members of the public to act as duck-herders, in the event of any deviants deciding to run down the canal instead of jumping into the water.

I have to say that freed ducks are a joy to watch, how they delight in ducking, dipping and diving, flapping, stretching and swimming!

Happily, this group stayed together and hubs and I settled down with several cold beers to watch them for a few hours while they learnt their first duck-life-lessons from mother ducks and moorhens. Our little lot turned out to be thugs who backed each other up, they’ll go far!

I always hang around until the ducks get out of the water, I like to check that they successfully avoid people and dogs…..they passed that test with flying colours!

And Finally…….

My friend loves sangria and often visits, bringing all the ingredients to make her own, I never have a large enough jug so she usually uses a flower vase.

She won’t have to any longer.

Hubs has been working in Manila for a few weeks and bought me this fabulous barrel, made of banana wood.

Friend is delighted! Just Perfect!


  38 comments for “Releasing ducks-the trials and tribulations

  1. June 24, 2017 at 8:55 am

    Maybe you should sell tickets! Have you a set of duck catching overalls?

    • Snow Bird
      June 27, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      Lol…selling tickets is an excellent idea, funds for the rescue! Sadly, it’s never occurred to me to think overalls! xxx

  2. June 24, 2017 at 9:55 am

    A delightful post. It all sounds rather messy for those involved and comical for those watching. Well done on successfully releasing all these. xx

    • Snow Bird
      June 27, 2017 at 9:35 pm

      Thanks Flighty, you have it in a nutshell! xxx

  3. June 24, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Another Super post…deserving of specially made sangria et al….. Hugs! <3

    • Snow Bird
      June 27, 2017 at 9:47 pm

      Thanks Bushka. xxx

  4. June 24, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    And duck poop is about the smelliest there is..

    • Snow Bird
      June 27, 2017 at 9:47 pm

      Isn’t it just!!!xxx

  5. June 24, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    I learn the most amazing things here, Dina! From poopy ducks to banana wood. Who knew you could carve things out of banana wood? I thought it would be too soft for anything, but look at that handsome barrel you’ve got complete with drinking cups! Well done, hubby!

    • Snow Bird
      June 27, 2017 at 10:02 pm

      Y’know? you have me thinking, how can that barrel be banana wood, far too soft. Hubs is sticking to his guns though despite me googling and finding nothing but banana veneer!
      Poopy ducks is still on the money though….xxx

  6. June 24, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    I’m thinking … biiiiiiiiiiiiiiig rubber overall and gloves for catching poopy ducks … ha ha ha – that is all so hilarious! And I am in awe of your banana-wood barrel. What a lovely present. Full marks to Hubs.

    • Snow Bird
      June 27, 2017 at 10:16 pm

      Strangely, overalls and gloves have never occurred to me! Sadly, I think they may slow me down!Lol….Given Nikkipolani’s comment, I am now deeply suspicious re the banana wood, but hey, it’s still one handsome looking piece of kit! Thanks

  7. Kitty
    June 24, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    I agree with Gill regarding the rubber overall and gloves! Oh, Dina: what we do for love! How gloriously earthy and transcendent at the same time…just LOVED this post! How wonderful I would feel watching the babies swimming and transforming into who they are meant to be, thanks to you. Is it as pleasing as I imagine?

    And about those sangria parties! Yum! What a perfect gift from your dear one. I bet your friend’s found it perfect, too. 🙂

    Thank you for such a happy, funny post. You do have grand adventures! Sending love, K.

    • Snow Bird
      June 27, 2017 at 10:55 pm

      I’ve never thought about overall’s and gloves, why oh why? But I think they would slow me down, especially gloves! So glad you enjoyed the post! Oh yes, seeing the litt’uns go is magical but worrying too, I have to check they are wild enough around people and dogs, every time they come out of the water and a loose dog bounds along the canal I have a heart attack!!! Once home I relax and enjoy the release as there is nothing more I can do. Seeing them in the water for the first time ever is just so special though…..Thanks Kitty…love and hugs to you and yours, still hoping for a new blog ….no pressure!xxx

      • Kitty
        July 3, 2017 at 6:22 pm

        One day; will let you know. 🙂

        • Snow Bird
          July 3, 2017 at 11:24 pm

          Feeling optimistic! I do miss your posts!xxxxxxx

  8. June 24, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    Well done … Getting through all that duck poo for a good cause! I have noticed that birds/animals all react differently when being released …. Some rush out & others refused to go…. How you wish you could get them to understand it is all for a happy ending. I would have loved seeming them swim away …doing what comes naturally! Definitely worth a glass of sangria in your neat new wooden barrel !

    • Snow Bird
      June 29, 2017 at 5:40 pm

      Thanks Gerrie, I’ve found the same, some creatures simply don’t want to go. If only we could make them understand. It is always lovely seeing ducks in the water, their pleasure is

  9. June 25, 2017 at 6:25 am

    freed ducks are truly a joy to watch

    • Snow Bird
      June 29, 2017 at 5:43 pm

      They truly are! Good to hear from you Shimon, I hope all is well in your world!xxx

  10. June 25, 2017 at 10:45 am

    It sounds like a plastic onesy suit job. How long does all that feather-flapping maneuvering take?

    Love the look of your future Sangria parties.


    • Snow Bird
      July 2, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      It seems to take forever, but it’s probably only a couple of minutes catching them, and even less releasing them. xxx

  11. June 25, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Well done on another successful mission! You lead the most interesting lives, never a dull moment, you certainly deserve your Sangria after all that effort!

    • Snow Bird
      July 2, 2017 at 9:17 pm

      Thanks Pauline. Just have to wait for my buddy to come around and make it!xxx

  12. June 26, 2017 at 1:04 am

    We spent most of last week trying to decide whether to catch an injured mallard, to take it to the rehabber. We finally decided against it when we realized it could fly. Instead, we left a hose dripping for it, and provided a little supplemental nutrition. It went from standing on one leg, to balancing on two, to finally being able to hop about a bit. Now, it’s moving from one dock to another, and has been spotted in the water, so it’s able to eat “real” food. It’s not been as dramatic as your gentle chaos, but wholly satisfying? Oh, yes.

    I didn’t know that they needed to be released together to bond, and stay together. That’s really interesting. Kudos to you for another successful release. I’d say your beers were well-deserved. I love your tales, every one of them!

    • Snow Bird
      July 2, 2017 at 9:19 pm

      What a marvelous story!!! Glad to hear the duck is on the mend and couldn’t agree more re wholly satisfying! Well done to you all, I’m sure that duck is most grateful.
      If we release the ducks as a group they all swim off together, if we do it slowly, they often fly away so speed is always of the essence, they do better in groups. Thanks

  13. June 27, 2017 at 12:11 am

    I like your photograph with the ducks.
    It must be a joy to watch the freed ducks as they ‘delight in ducking, dipping and diving, flapping, stretching and swimming!’ Your words describe the scene perfectly …

    Haven’t had sangria for years … enjoy yours!

    All the best Jan

    • Snow Bird
      July 2, 2017 at 9:21 pm

      Thanks Jan. Watching newly released ducks is always a pleasure, how they love finding themselves in vast expanses of water. I’m not usually a sangria fan, but I have to say that my friend does mix a mean batch!xxx

  14. June 27, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Even though the rounding up sounds messy it must have been satisfying to release the ducks that had been with you since they were ducklings and see them fending for themselves. The banana wood barrel was the perfect present. Relax of an evening and enjoy whatever you put in it.

    • Snow Bird
      July 2, 2017 at 9:22 pm

      It certainly is satisfying Linda, and to be honest, duck poop doesn’t really bother me, you get used to it after all these years. xxx

  15. Jo
    June 28, 2017 at 8:10 am

    What a palaver. Definitely worth it though to get those duckies back in to the wild, that must be so satisfying. When we had a cat, his carrier split in to two halves, the top bit unclipped and lifted off the bottom part, perhaps you could do with some of those. What a wonderful gift, the wood barrel is beautiful.

    • Snow Bird
      July 2, 2017 at 9:23 pm

      It is worth it Jo, seeing happy ducks is a sight to behold. Oh….what a great idea re the cat carrier, we have some of those at the rescue, I’ll give it a go next time. Thanks for

  16. June 28, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    The sacrifices you are willing to make for the good of the ducks inspires awe. It also sounds pretty funny, at least from beyond pooping range. And it all had a happy ending.

    • Snow Bird
      July 2, 2017 at 9:25 pm

      Thanks Jason, it must look pretty chaotic and comical, but the happy ending is worth it

  17. June 28, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    I’d buy a ticket to watch the duck releasing performance. From a safe distance. You certainly worked for your sangria.

    • Snow Bird
      July 2, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      Next time you are up, I shall happily sell you a ticket, making sure you are comfortably tucked behind a dense bush!xxx

  18. July 1, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    I also would buy a ticket to watch the duck releasing performance. Perhaps you should make a video of it for fundraising narrated by someone with a somber, posh accent: “Here’s the crew trying to entice the ducks out of their crates. Oops, slight accident there on Dina … ” Makes me laugh to think about it! I’m happy to hear that the release was successful and that they are a feisty bunch. As for the sangria, you now are set up in style. Although I was also puzzled as to the banana wood.

    • Snow Bird
      July 2, 2017 at 9:27 pm

      You have me laughing here….that sure sounds like a good idea, apart from me being pooped on. Oh….hubs and his banana wood?!? xxx

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